Written by Shu-Hua Shih. Only a narrow strait lies between Taiwan and China, and cultural and economic interactions between the two are unceasing and abundant. On these grounds, many across the globe assumed that Taiwan would be the place outside China that is most seriously impacted by the COVID-19 virus.
Written by Gerrit van der Wees. On March 4th, 2020, the US House of Representatives passed the TAIPEI Act with unanimous consent. TAIPEI, in this case, stands for “Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative” – a smart acronym for legislation designed to support more international space for Taiwan around the world. The US Senate had passed a similar Bill at the end of October 2019, and the House actually took up the Senate version of the Bill.
Written by Shun-Te Wang. As Chinese influence infiltrates everyday life in Kinmen, local politicians still find it challenging to predict local opinion over border control issues. In early February 2020, 6 kilometres away from China, a dissatisfaction toward the government’s Coronavirus prevention measures became prominent on the Kinmen island. The island’s public demand that Taiwanese central government, which is 300 kilometres away from Kinmen, to suspend the “Three Links” to prevent the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) from entering.
Written by Po-Han Lee. Due to the recent outbreak of the new coronavirus (COVID-19), Taiwan—which is greatly affected because of its intensive communication with China—has come under the international spotlight, because of its exclusion from the World Health Organisation (WHO), which is the largest institution responsible for disease control. Drawing on the rules/practices regarding the WHO-related meetings, this essay discusses why it is so difficult for the Taiwanese to be heard by the WHO, let alone for them to be present at relevant forums.
Written by Josie-Marie Perkuhn. As a precaution, most flights have been suspended, and entry spots have restricted access, such as maritime passages via Kinmen, Matsu or Penghu Island. President Tsai also assured that “as long as the two sides fully communicate and cooperate, I do believe that we will be able to take good care of our people”. However, controversy arose when on February 3rd evacuees arrived. Three of the 247 people on the charter flight had not been on the priority list, which Taiwan provided to China, and one was tested positive, becoming the 11th patient in Taiwan to be diagnosed.
Written by Gerrit van der Wees. A recent episode in Prague illustrates in two important ways that China’s relations with the West are changing fast. It shows the need for the US and Western Europe to reimagine relations with Taiwan, bring Taiwan in from the cold of political isolation, start working towards a normalization of relations, and find a rightful place for that democratic country in the international family of nations.
Written by Ian Inkster. The conclusion is that the DPP should take the risk of dropping the rhetoric of China whilst seeking ways of beginning more positive diplomatic exchanges. And this should be undertaken on a broad basis. DPP negotiations that are not within a reasonably broad-based consensus at home are unlikely to progress far, for domestic quarrels do not make for confident diplomacy on either side of a table.
Written by Zhidong Hao. In 2014, the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong failed to persuade the Beijing government to grant them full universal suffrage for the election of the chief executive. Since then the so-called high degree of autonomy guaranteed by the Basic Law was eroded so much that Hong Kong was becoming more like Macau. Macau has been touted by the Central government as a perfect model of ‘one country, two systems’, but in reality, it is more like a model of ‘one country, one and a quarter systems’, i.e. an authoritarian system plus some press freedom.
Written by Michael Reilly. In the medium to long-term, the coronavirus outbreak may turn out to be the high-water mark of foreign investment in China. Even before this, foreign companies were growing increasingly frustrated as the government increased minimum wage levels in provinces such as Guangdong and Fujian, and they also became frustrated with a growing burden of regulations and a bias in favour of domestic companies.
Written by Frédéric Krumbein. As the only Chinese democracy that has ever existed, Taiwan shows that Chinese culture, authentic democracy and respect for human rights can coexist. It is thus pertinent to ask – to what extent is Taiwan a bastion of democracy and human rights? How has Taiwan gone about promoting these values in the region, and how will it continue to do so moving forward?
Written by Timothy S. Rich. Taiwan must find new strategies in order to strengthen formal and informal ties. However, it should not over rely on expanding unofficial relations with the US or overlook the inconsistencies of Trump’s foreign policy that could impact Taiwan. For example, the Trump Administration’s decision to cut hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras for two consecutive years provides a greater opportunity for Chinese influence in the region and greater pressure on Taiwan’s remaining diplomatic partners.
Written by Yu-Hua Chen.
On January 11th 2020, the incumbent president of Taiwan, Tsai Ing-Wen, was re-elected to serve a second term as President of Taiwan by a land-slide majority. Tsai’s 8.17 million votes (57.1%) was a record high for Taiwan (well surpassing the record set by Ma Ying-jeou in 2008), and occurred in the backdrop of an unprecedented high turn out (19 million votes at 74.9% of the voting population). Yet the performance in the legislative election of Tsai’s party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), was far less impressive.